What will be different in the revised California Out of the Box curriculum?

Why did you decide to revise it, and when will it be available?

We are revising it as we published it six years ago and one of the resources it relied upon is sadly out of print. In the long term, we felt revising it gave us an additional opportunity to include feedback from homeschool families, as well as to remedy the problem of the out-of-print reader by producing our own reader.

The curriculum will be available in the summer so families can begin using it in late August/September.

What approaches are used in the revised curriculum?

If we had to compare the revised edition to other curricula, we’d say it has some lapbooking-like activities (habitat scenes), uses a hands-on and living books approach like Charlotte Mason, a strong story tie in from literature approach curricula like BookShark, and bite-sized daily work with clickable links found in Easy Peasy. It’s a combination of these four approaches.

How is the curriculum paced?

Over the years, we have received questions from parents about what to do, and when. In the revised curriculum, we order each week with Days 1-4. Day 1 will most often be the major reading using the core literature book — like Island of the Blue Dolphins, etc. — for the week. The reading will usually be about 40 pages per week, with a few exceptions. Days 2-3 will be explorations looking into a topic related to the historical fiction book like exploring the northern elephant seals, learning about island foxes, reading and watching a video about Sutter’s Fort, and zooming in on the Anza expedition. Day 4 will most often be creating a project; some examples include making an aged treasure map (while reading By the Great Horn Spoon!), designing a California citrus crate label (while reading Esperanza Rising), or making a model home with materials from the coast and Island habitat (while reading Island of the Blue Dolphins). Many of the projects will have a video link on the website!

Curriculum pacing example

What resources can be found on the website?

As we have taught California Out of the Box classes, we have found many great resources that we’d like to share with homeschool families. Previously, we had some links listed in the print book, but in our digital age, it’s much nicer to hit a webpage to access links. Links will be listed by the week and day.

Sample unit webpage with resource links

Projects and project videos

One of the benefits of our modern era — it is so easy to create videos! We have made videos as we have taught this class and now we are sharing them with you! Videos can make following project instructions effortless. Generally each week there will be at least one project choice.

California butterfly mobile video

Here are some of the projects:

  • Creating a covered wagon
  • Making a “Come to California” or a state or national park travel poster
  • Creating a model of the devastation of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake (the Mayhem Project)
  • Creating a wetlands or a water project model in a 9×13 pan

What types of selections are contained in the reader?

California is such a diverse and complex place. This reason is precisely why we have put our own reader together, California Collage, to introduce families to the accomplishments of largely unknown people like Charles Lummis (an early Angeleno), the Yosemite Buffalo Soldiers, early Angeleno Biddy Mason (who became a free person in California), abalone shellfish in California, the important story about P-22 Mountain Lion in the Hollywood Hills, as well as other selections on various topics. These stories are a few examples of relevant and important pieces for young students to consider as they explore life in the Golden State.

There are roughly 55 selections in the anthology, comprising poetry, fiction and nonfiction stories, and a number of primary source selections from John Muir, Mark Twain, Florence A. Merriam, and Mrs. J.B. Rideout. The selections run from one to ten pages in length. View the table of contents!

Online quizzes

If you are closely following the curriculum, have your student take the online quiz!es Results can be emailed to you! Each of the five units has a quiz, and there are several optional online exercises exploring population growth and precipitation in California. This promises to be a fun new activity; from our experience, we know how much kids like online quizzes!

Sign up to be notified!

Are you interested in hearing more information about the curriculum? We are hosting live events and releasing other information as it becomes available to families who are interested in being notified. Add your name to the list!

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